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Old 01-29-2020, 11:54 AM   #11
EmmaAndChester
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Default Re: Two hammies in divided Detolf

I am genuinely surprised at the amount of people claiming that half a detolf is appropriate for a dwarf hamster. Spoiler: it is not.

A single dwarf hamster needs a bare minimum (note: BARE minimum - it it recommend you strive for beyond this!) of 620"2. 450"2 is not a minimum - it is a made up number from another popular hamster forum, that was implemented for human convenience. I have no idea why it is still quoted when the very forum who made up that number scrapped it well over 2 years ago and now advocate for larger enclosures.

A detolf is suitable for housing only one dwarf hamster. Splitting it in half is unfair, unsuitable, and inappropriate housing for any of the four dwarf species.

Having two hamsters also does not guarantee that they will not pass at the same time. I had two hamsters last year, a year apart in age, pass literally one day after the other. It happens, and it's not unusual for it to happen.

TL;DR: a detolf is only big enough for housing a single dwarf hamster. Winter whites (and hybrids; which includes ANY campbells without proof of pedigree) are solitary species - housing them together is reckless at best.
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Old 01-29-2020, 01:09 PM   #12
Petite
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Default Re: Two hammies in divided Detolf

I must admit, I am really confused now. I have read up on this subject both on this forum and in a wide and varied assortment of books. At least two of the books say that it's possible to keep more than one Campbell's, winter white or robo together (always keeping a wary eye, of course). I have kept two Campbell's together before (without proof of pedigree) and they got on fine for some months, sleeping and eating together, sharing a wheel and a water bottle (because the pet shop didn't tell me they should have one each; obviously I am better prepared this time). When one did eventually develop a grudge against the other, I separated them.

Each one was then in a cage smaller than half a detolf, one lived for 18 months, the other into old age. They displayed no signs of cage rage or bar chewing. (Re the size, I will only add that this was around 20 years ago when there was less info about suitable cage sizes, and no internet at that time on which to buy larger cages.) Living in the Outer Hebrides, where there is only one place where pets or accessories can be purchased, hampers me in that respect. I can't get a second detolf as I have nowhere to put it.

Of course, I may just have been lucky (for the first half of their lives) that they did get along well. Obviously I will have to re-think.

It does seem odd, though, that some of the cages recommended on this forum have been deemed suitable for a dwarf hamster, although smaller than half the detolf.

I know there is no guarantee that one hamster will outlive the other. My only comment in that respect is that I would HOPE they didn't go together

Last edited by Petite; 01-29-2020 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:38 PM   #13
EmmaAndChester
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Default Re: Two hammies in divided Detolf

Winter whites are found solitary in the wild, and only come together when mating - much like the syrian hamster, and Chinese. Many outdated sources list them as sociable but these are, unfortunately, just that - outdated sources. Campbells are social, but only well bred. It is wildly regarded (by any dwarf enthusiast actually knowledgable/who have studied the species) that there is heightened aggression amongst poorly bred lines that make it simply reckless to how these hamsters in pairs or groups. Therefore, any Campbell without proof of pedigree should - if you care for your hamsters wellbeing - kept solitary. Housing an Campbell of unknown background as a pair or group is playing with fire and is unethical at best. These are animals who can literally **kill**** each other over night. Housing pairs is not something you should take lightly (regardless of how often you have done it in the past) and is only something that should be attempted by those with extensive knowledge on the species, and who study behaviour. They are not for the average pet keeper.

Regarding cage size: yeah, a lot of it is outdated, which sucks. But a single dwarf hamster needs 620”2 of floorspace with a minimum of 6” bedding depth. Anything or anywhere that says otherwise is simply just wrong.

A single detolf is great for a single hamster. And I strongly encourage you to please reconsider your original plan. If you want your hamster to not only survive, but truly thrive and be happy, one dwarf for one detolf is the best route to take:
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:05 PM   #14
sushi_78
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Default Re: Two hammies in divided Detolf

Until the day a reliable study conclusively proves that all hamsters suffer under a certain size cage (which will never happen because all hamsters are different), all "minimums" are only going to be "made up" numbers, based on opinion and experience. That doesn't mean they should be disregarded, but it does mean they should be flexible.

I also think that half a detolf is fine for most dwarves. The divider would have to be very secure of course. Personally I would not keep either Winter Whites or Campbell hamsters together unless they were from a breeder, and from a line with a history of living peacefully in groups.
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Old 01-29-2020, 04:09 PM   #15
EmmaAndChester
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Default Re: Two hammies in divided Detolf

There are studies that show the benefits of large enclosures. Minimums that are concluded based upon studying the animals behaviour should always, always, always be the minimum you should look at when choosing the best enclosure for your hamster. 450"2 is not that minimum; it was made for human convenience, as it is the size of an average bin cage - it has nothing, absolutely nothing at all, to do with the animals legitimate requirements and as such, it should be completely disregarded. It was scrapped by the very forum who created it, and that forum saw an infinite number of behavioural issues from all species of hamsters housed in that size enclosure.

I entirely disagree with half a detolf being "fine" for most dwarfs. The only dwarf hamsters that will be fine in an enclosure that small are seriously ill hamsters, or very old hamsters. Any average hamster will not thrive in an enclosure that small. Additionally, No ethical breeder should be selling Winter Whites in pairs. They are not a sociable species, regardless of quality of lines. It is unnatural behaviour for them to engage in.
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Old 01-29-2020, 07:01 PM   #16
AmityvilleHams
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Default Re: Two hammies in divided Detolf

I was on that other forum during the days of the creation of the absolutely ridiculous 450 square inch minimum - and I can equally vouch that it had nothing to do with proper animal welfare.

We had more than adequate evidence that it wasn't appropriate which was ignored. We saw seemingly endless cases to prove that 360 and 450 square inches were both woefully inadequate to say the least, but because big cages aren't "nice" or "easy" for some people proper welfare based and more importantly evidence based minimums were not considered the right choice.

Unfortunately in life, we have to accept that when it comes to providing for our pets properly we don't always get the easy way out or the most convenient choices. I haven't been willing to say it so much, but it must be said that we have to consider first and foremost individual animal welfare above all else.

Social housing of any hamster species is a massive risk, even with more secure dividers. It is not worth the stress and potential very real and very serious safety risks and overall welfare concerns. It's somewhat new on the forum to see this stance, but we have seen the real result of what can and quite often does go wrong with even the most prepared experienced individuals housing multiple hamsters in an enclosure. It is devastating and horrifying to say the least.

You could certainly still use a full Detolf for a single dwarf. Keep in mind a full Detolf is 953.25 square inches, so even a perfect half is just barely over the human convenience orientated 450 square inch minimum. 476.625 square inches isn't very big even for the smallest of hamsters.

Using math going off the square meter Syrian minimum(not so popular here because it's not convenient), backed by science, you get a "magical number" of 258.333333333 square inches per inch of body length going off the idea that one would have a 6 inch long Syrian. In translation, that means 516 square inches roughly for a 2 inch long robo to get the same equivalent. I don't disagree with EmmaAndChester on the 620 square inch minimum however even when it comes to robos.
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Old 01-30-2020, 04:25 AM   #17
Petite
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Default Re: Two hammies in divided Detolf

Thank you for all the responses - they have been instructive and well-informed. I have thought carefully over the matter from every angle and have now reduced my Winter White order to a single dwarf hamster. It would have been nice to have two, but I don't have space for another large cage. As you say, the welfare of the animal is the most important thing.
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